Last year, Jan Rambousek and his team revealed their debut masterpiece project to the world: Silver Arrows. The word spread like wildfire, and it wasn't long before every auto blog, magazine, and design media outlet with artistic taste had a blurb about it. No doubt, the Silver Arrows collection lit a torch where there was once only darkness. Never before had we seen a mixture of photography and CGI used to recreate historical motorsport moments in print--and certainly not at such a scale.
The group of artists operating under Jan's leadership calls itself Unique & Limited, and they have put the rest of the automotive art world on notice. After the initial buzz from the Silver Arrows project died down, we assumed that things would be relatively quiet over at U&L for a while. After all, their opening number had taken 2.5 years to complete. What has happened instead is quite the opposite. It turns out that the prints in Silver Arrows were but the opening movement to a symphony of projects--each one just as epic in scope as the last. In about a year, the team has produced five more collections, including a breathtaking perspective on the Battle of Britain. The amount of work that goes into each set is touched upon in each section of the Unique and Limited website. From hours of research, to traveling to real-world locations for shoots, to countless time developing CGI, it's clear that nobody there gets any sleep. It's hard to believe that any team--no matter how large--could keep up the work rate they have, and yet here the artwork is, with more on the way.
Ferrari 250 GTO
There were only 39 Ferrari 250 GTOs ever built in the world, and most are in the hands of private collectors. With the most expensive chassis #5111GT selling for a rumored $52 million in 2013, chances are that you won't be seeing one in an golden era-style rally any time soon. (Just between us, Thomas Price is the only owner we know of who can regularly be seen racing his precious 250 GTO around race tracks in Northern California. It's a treat to experience.) If you've already seen this collection, look again. A new print has been released featuring two of the legendary cars racing at the Targa Florio. Both cars leave trails of rubber around the bend while spectators casually watch from mere feet away. The scene is classic Targa Florio, and another trophy in this amazing collection. Unique & Limited know that the proper way to represent the homologation special is as Enzo Ferrari intended when he personally approved each buyer: in racing, dirty, and fast.
The greatest racing car of all time. Car of the century at Le Mans. Both superlatives used to describe the Porsche 917, the first car to give Porsche overall wins at Le Mans. The 917 somehow remains the manufacturer's most iconic prototype racing car, though it is vastly overshadowed in dominance by Porsche's own 956/962 duo of the Group C era. Perhaps a little movie named Le Mans has something to do with it. Or perhaps it's the fact that the 917 shape wears racing's most iconic liveries - Gulf and Martini - so well.
Bob Burman and Blitzen Benz
The "Lightning Benz" comes from an era so far from where we are now that one can almost see it disappearing over the horizon into mythology. As an early exercise in automotive aerodynamics and massive (for the time) power, the car possesses a rawness not seen in machinery for decades. From the exposed chains driving the rear wheels, to the massive rockers and valve springs on top of the motor, it leaves almost nothing to the imagination. In stark contrast to today's plastic-covered engines, and mysterious electric motors, the Blitzen Benz showed plainly how it made all 200 of its horsepower, and how it intended to smash speed records of the day. To capture such an essence on anything but a salt flat at full tilt should be impossible, but Unique & Limited pull it off with flare; sand kicked up from the tires mix with the nearly black smoke from the motor's header's, both staining the car's sides as it rushes to terminal velocity.
Colors of Speed
The Colors of Speed collection uses the models from the Ferrari and Porsche collections, and puts them up against matching bold-colored backgrounds to really make a statement. The prints show just how detailed the models of the cars are.
Battle of Britain & Battle of the Philippine Sea
This project is a departure from Unique & Limited's other work, and goes to show just how versatile the team truly is. They take to the air in this collection with action-packed scenes of the sky Battle of Britain, and stunningly accurate models of the planes that flew the campaign. As with the other collections on their site, care has been taken to showcase the heroic pilots strapped into the canopies alongside their brothers in arms.
That Unique & Limited continues to tell stories goes to show that Silver Arrows wasn't a fluke. They are still churning out incredible work, and appear to have an almost unlimited number of ideas for future projects. I suppose that's what happens when you have a whole group of creatives working under the same brand. As much as this is Jan Rambousek's creation, it doesn't seem that the team is only relying on one mind. They all have a say, and they're even taking votes from their fans on next projects. It seems to me, that they'll never run out of ideas. And that makes them...UNlimited.